After signing up to run the Vitality Bath Half Marathon I started to look for a 10k that I could do to monitor how my training was going so far. My criteria were that the race had to be:
- reasonably priced (As a student, I struggle to get behind the idea of paying ~£40 for a 10k)
- taking place after the term at drama school had finished (so as not to interfere with any of my training)
- christmas themed (just because I love Christmas!)
- taking place somewhere I could easily commute to
As luck would have it, I stumbled upon an advent for the Mo Farah foundation’s Olympic Park 5 & 10k race series. At £25 it was slightly more expensive than I would have liked, but I was won over by the fact that the race was for charity and by the sight of the awesome medal!
The race was organised by runthrough, a London based running community who amongst many other things including training sessions and coaching organise races for runners. They’re known for being good value races and are run by runners, for runners. My dad has participated in a number of their half marathons in the past and I have done one of their 10ks before, so I knew how they worked and roughly what to expect.
After mentioning it to my dad, he also decided to sign up for the 10k. There were two start times for the 10k; the first was the “elite” start (for those who had run a sub-50 10k before) and the other start was for everyone else. As I’d never even run sub-60 before this race I knew I would be at the mass start, but my dad (who had recently run a 49:30 10k) hoped that he’d be able to run with me in the mass race too. Sadly, when we saw the race number information, we saw we were running in separate races which was a shame. The information on the website seemed to suggest you couldn’t change your start time, although some people seemed to have done so on the day.
Regardless, I had a good day running the Olympic park 10k. Conditions were about as close to ideal as you could get for running; cool with just a light drizzle of rain. The course itself had one or two hills but felt pretty flat overall (I am just going on my general feeling here though, so I could be wrong!). The course consisted of two laps around the Olympic park, finishing just after the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
The week before this race was my final week at drama school, full of assessments, stress and busy shifts at my job and as a result my training in the week was non-existant. Consequently, I wasn’t sure what kind of time I was going to be able to produce, but I decided to run at a comfortable pace for the first lap and then see how I felt. I can’t remember what the time on my watch said as I crossed the halfway point, but I felt pretty comfortable and able to pick up the pace for the second lap. Running the second lap, I was conscious of the fact that unless something went badly wrong, I was likely to go sub 60 and PB by rather a lot (my previous PB was 64:23) which was a pleasant but surprising feeling.
I crossed the finish line in 57:43 which I was unbelievably pleased with (dad also PB’d, finishing in 46.24). I was pleased both to have finally gone sub 60 but also to have exceeded my expectations- I thought I’d be lucky to finish in 59:59! For my troubles, I received the aforementioned awesome medal, a really cool tech top, mince pies and lucozade. My body didn’t feel nearly as dead as it has after previous races (in fact I was able to spend the entire next day on my feet at work…joy) which was a welcome relief, although perhaps this means I could have pushed myself more? 😛
Overall, I really enjoyed this race. Taking into account the goodies you receive on top of the overall experience, I would definitely say it was good value. The only thing that would have really improved it for me was being able to run alongside my dad (although he would have had to run quite a bit slower than he’s used to for me to keep up!). Perhaps we’ll run together next year?
Would I recommend this race? YES
Would I run it again? ABSOLUTELY!
All the best